Many people think of artificial intelligence (AI) as science-fiction—a cunning computer run amok or a loyal companion robot.
The reality is much more practical.
AI technologies are largely designed to help humans work better–first, by generating insight from data more quickly and accurately than is humanly possible, and second, by acting automatically on that insight. Invisible to the human eye for years, these technologies have been completing a broad range of tasks, from correctly routing mail to interpreting handwriting.
Today, AI technologies are used everywhere consumers turn: Siri on their iPhones, rear parking assist in their cars, automatically reordering supplies on Amazon, and suggesting clothes they may like on their favorite retail websites.
Indeed, enhancing the human ability to process remains a top strategic priority at early AI innovators such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. These technologies–including image recognition, natural language processing, machine learning, causal reasoning, and robotics–can help businesses increase revenues, reduce costs, and mitigate risks.
“Enhancing the human ability to process” is a strong statement, and the stakes are enormous for the early innovators, as well as for the broader economy. Artificial intelligence technologies have the potential to transform entire business models at a clip reminiscent of the industrial revolution. The question is: How can companies take full advantage of such a fundamentally disruptive group of technologies?